Jonathan Spector backs Christian Pulisic to cover up Eden Hazard void

Former USA defender Jonathan Spector has said that Christian Pulisic may not replace Eden Hazard at Chelsea but he has the potential to become a top-notch player for the west London giants. The 20-year-old was purchased by the Blues during the 2019 winter transfer window but he was thereafter loaned back to Borussia Dortmund for the remainder of the 2018/19 season.

As such, he has yet to make an impression among the Blues faithful and the same could be delayed for some time with his participation at the Gold Cup. Speaking to Goal.com, Spector told that Pulisic has yet to reach the level of Hazard on the professional scale and he has time on his side to become as good as the Belgium international.

He said:”I don’t think he’s quite at that level just yet and there’s no shame in that, Hazard is a brilliant player! But he definitely has the potential if he continues to grow and improve. But with Hazard leaving it gives him an opportunity, as he needs to play games, especially at that age and at that stage of development. Being a 20-year-old playing for Chelsea is no small feat, so hopefully, he will get that opportunity and there is no telling how good he could be.”

Pulisic could not help USA win the Gold Cup after they succumbed to a final defeat at the hands of Mexico. Nonetheless, the tournament was a good experience for the attacker, who contributed three goals and three assists from six appearances. The young playmaker is now on a vacation following the international exploits but he could meet his new teammates towards the end of the month. Still, he may not be rushed into first-team action and may have to adjust to a bench role for a few games in order to adapt to the intensity of the Premier League.

Liam Rosenior believes Lampard can become Chelsea’s very own Guardiola

Sky Sports pundit Liam Rosenior believes Frank Lampard has the opportunity to transform into a world-class manager at Chelsea. The 40-year-old has emerged as the favourite to take up the vacant head coach role at the Blues and Rosenior believes the Englishman has the chance to make a name for himself in club management.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Rosenior said that Lampard has got a great chance of returning to the Blues in the managerial role and he could grow into the mould of a young Pep Guardiola in years to come. He added that no one can blame him for taking up the role and the same goes for Derby County chairman Mel Morris.

He told: “We’ve seen [Mauricio] Pochettino, young manager, Guardiola, young manager, Klopp started his career when he was young. For me, when Chelsea come calling and with his connection at that football club, I don’t think anyone in the world would blame him for taking that job. I don’t think Mel Morris would, I don’t think anyone would, because I think there are certain things in football that you can’t say no to.”

At the present moment, the Rams are doing the best to convince Lampard to remain with the club and that has halted the discussions with the Blues. Nonetheless, it appears that the 40-year-old has made the mind up to join the west London giants and it could only be a matter of time before the Rams accept defeat and take the compensation package.

The Blues are currently under a transfer ban for 12 months and the embargo should see the board provide more backing to the new manager. As such, Lampard does not have any fears of getting the axe within months of the job and that surely remains one of the main factors behind the prospect of accepting the role.

Chelsea assistant drops positive injury update on Antonio Rudiger

Chelsea assistant manager Gianfranco Zola has dropped a positive injury update on Antonio Rudiger. The Germany international picked up a knee injury during the recent 2-0 league defeat at Liverpool but it appears that the concern is a minor one, and he could return for the trip to Manchester United at the end of the month.

Speaking in a press conference, Zola acknowledged that the Blues have been lucky with the defender’s injury setback and there remains a strong possibility of a comeback against United later in the month, he said: “It looks not as bad as we thought, luckily. When he came off limping, we were worried. Apparently it’s not that bad. He’s a strong boy and he’ll be back sooner than you expect. Yes, there is a strong possibility that we see him [against United]. He’s a warrior and won’t want to miss a game like that. The next few days will be very important to see if he can continue recovering.”
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Maurizio Sarri fires caution to Gonzalo Higuain after another goalless game

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has said that Gonzalo Higuain must produce his best performances for the club during the final two months of the season. The Argentina international has largely been a hit-and-miss since his winter move to the club and he has managed just three goals across all competitions.

Speaking after the Blues’ 2-1 win over Cardiff City, Sarri acknowledged that Higuain is struggling to keep up with the demands of the Premier League but the club don’t have much time to help him adjust, he said: “He said to me that it’s difficult because the physical impact of the defenders here is really very strong. The referees here are really very different than in Italy, so it’s another football for him. Especially for the striker and the goalkeeper, I think it’s really very different. So I think he needs time, but we have no time. We need him at his top level in the last two months.”
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Didier Drogba raves about Lille attacker Nicolas Pepe

Chelsea legend Didier Drogba has heaped praise on the performances of compatriot Nicolas Pepe in Ligue 1 this term. The 23-year-old has been in stellar form for Lille this season with 17 goals and eight assists in the French top-flight and this has kept them on course for a return to next season’s Champions League.

Speaking to Goal.com, Drogba said that he has heard plenty of good things about the progress of Pepe and he is confident that the forward can leapfrog the 19-goal tally, he achieved with Marseille during the 2003-04 season, he told: “He has very good statistics and he will easily exceed my goals record in Ligue 1. He is fast and a complete and efficient player. We need players like him in Ligue 1. I have been hearing about him for some time, especially because he has been part of the Ivorian national team for several years.”
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Gianfranco Zola defends the restricted gametime for Callum Hudson-Odoi

Chelsea assistant Gianfranco Zola has defended the club’s handling of Callum Hudson-Odoi over the past few months. The England youth international was the subject of interest from German giants Bayern Munich during the winter transfer window but the deal never materialised with the Blues showing no interest in sanctioning his sale.

Thereafter, it had been anticipated that the youngster would receive regular gametime with the first team but this has not been the case with manager Maurizio Sarri preferring to go with the seniors who have regularly featured for the team since the beginning of the current campaign. Amidst this, there has been plenty of concern from the faithful regarding the youngster’s future but Zola has stressed that Hudson-Odoi does not have an easy route to the starting line-up, he said: “Sorry, but I disagree with this. He is always on the edge of the team. As soon as there is an opportunity he plays – sometimes from the beginning, sometimes he comes on.
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Sol Bamba credits Didier Drogba for influencing his professional career

Cardiff City defender Sol Bamba has said that Didier Drogba played a role in shaping up his professional playing career. The 34-year-old shared the same dressing room with the former Chelsea star in the national setup and he has now spoken about the experience of playing with and against the Ivory Coast legend.

Speaking to reporters, Bamba hailed the qualities of the former Blues ace, who recently retired from the beautiful game, he said: “Didier Drogba was our captain and he was the best striker I ever came up against. What a player, strong with both feet, good in the air and on his day I quickly learned you cannot mark him. It was good experience trying, though!”
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Steve Sidwell insists Chelsea need a new striker in the Costa or Drogba mould

Sky Sports pundit Steve Sidwell believes Chelsea need to pursue a new striker in the mould of Didier Drogba or Diego Costa, if they are to once more become a force in the Premier League. The Blues have failed to provide a strong challenge for the top-flight title over the past 18 months and during this period, the club have depended on the services of Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud without much success.

Speaking on The Debate, Sidwell highlighted that the club are desperately lacking a physical presence upfront who can regularly contribute to the scoresheet. He added that Giroud has the holding capabilities within himself but Sarri does not seem to favour the services of the former Arsenal man.
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Former Chelsea star believes Eden Hazard may be tempted by Real Madrid move

Former Chelsea star Michael Essien believes Eden Hazard would find it hard to ignore the advances from Real Madrid, should they come calling for his services next year. The Belgium international has just 18 months remaining on his existing deal with the Blues and this has seemingly increased speculation regarding his future with a contract renewal far from happening.

Speaking to The Express, Essien said that Hazard is one of the best players in the world and looks fantastic while plying his trade for the Blues. However, the interest from Los Blancos could be hard to refuse for the former Lille graduate, considering they have been his dream club since his childhood days.

Essien said: “He’s been playing in the Premier League very well and looks fantastic at the moment. Hazard is one of the best players in the world. The interest of Real Madrid, I only hear from people in the media. But I mean when Real Madrid come calling… every player would love to play for them. He’s happy at Chelsea though and hopefully we can keep him.”
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Didier Drogba rules out Indian Super League stint

Chelsea legend Didier Drogba has indicated that he has no plans of featuring in the Indian Super League as a player after recently calling time on his professional career. The Ivorian great decided to bow out of the playing field after 20 years in the game and he is now looking forward to a new phase of life.

Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Drogba highlighted that he has no plans of playing in the Indian Super League but he would do his part to encourage Indian football, he said:“I think there are other ways to encourage Indian football but I am not going to come out of retirement and play again. Once you announce that you are done it’s good to try to stick to it. I have done and achieved everything in the last 20 years so I think it’s time for me to relax a bit.”
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